Slow cooker butter chicken (and vegan option!)

This post is sponsored via my partnership with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. Read on for an awesome and easy crockpot butter chicken recipe (+ vegan option) 🙂

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Indian Food Wednesday is back!! When I first started the blog, I would teach a back-to-back spin and Zumba combo on Wednesday nights. It was a tough workout combo, but a lot of fun, and I always looked forward to Indian food dinner with my closest friends afterwards. Things were starting to feel a little de ja vu with my new basketball court Zumba class -we have no mirrors, just like my favorite Valdosta Zumba class- and then I was offered a spin class right before it. Crazy, huh? I declined the extra spin class -teaching schedule is full and a great balance right now- but that doesn’t mean Indian Food Wednesday can’t start happening again 😉

Slow cooker butter chicken in the making

This recipe is the best kind: throw everything into a slow cooker, set it and forget it. Only a small amount of effort went into it: browning the chicken, a little chopping, a little grating and can opening. Nothing major, and the entire thing was prepped and ready to go in 15 minutes. There’s nothing like walking in the door and knowing that dinner is waiting for you.

I made this recipe with chicken, but it would also work extremely well with tofu. Just make the sauce on the stovetop and let it simmer for 20 minutes. While it’s simmering away, bake some firm, cubed tofu, seasoned with olive oil salt and pepper. Stir the tofu cubes into the sauce and there ya go.

Almond breeze almond milk

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try! It’s especially decadent with Almond Breeze and salted butter stirred in before serving, and garnished with fresh, chopped cilantro.

Butter chicken






Slow cooker butter chicken (and vegan option)

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A hearty slow cooker meal featuring a creamy sauce and some favorite Indian spices. This is a lightened-up version of a beloved favorite. Vegan option is included in the notes, too!

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 240
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes


  • -1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • -1 large sweet onion, diced
  • -1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • -1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz), drained
  • -2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • -1 can of chopped green chiles (4 oz)
  • -1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • -4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • -1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • -1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • -1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • -Salt and pepper
  • -1 cup Almond Breeze almond milk (I used regular)
  • -2 tablespoons of butter
  • -Cilantro, for garnish


  1. 1. Brown the chicken on the stove (in butter or olive oil) for about 10 minutes, seasoning well with salt and pepper.
  2. 2. While the chicken is browning, add the onion, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger and garlic into the slow cooker.
  3. 3. Top the slow cooker ingredients with the browned chicken and stir well. Season with salt and pepper before covering.
  4. 4. Set the slow cooker to cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  5. 5. Before serving, stir in the almond milk and butter, then garnish with chopped cilantro.
  6. 6. Enjoy over rice or sautéed veggies!


Vegan option

  • -Use a block of your favorite tofu, pressed, drained and cubed.
  • -Make the sauce on the stovetop by first sautéing the onion, green chiles and garlic in some coconut oil. Season well with salt and pepper. After above 5 minutes, stir in your spices.
  • -Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes while you bake your tofu cube. (I’d do about 375; season the tofu with olive oil, salt and pepper)
  • -Remove the tofu from the oven and gently stir into your sauce, along with the Almond Breeze.
  • -You could also add 1 cup of frozen peas here!
  • -Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice or sautéed veggies


  • Serving Size: 4

Favorite Indian food dish? Any weekly meal traditions?

This post is sponsored through my partnership with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. Of course, all opinions are my own. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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  1. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on July 30, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I never thought of using almond milk in my chicken casseroles. That’s a great idea! I love crock pot meals. It really does make meals easy when life gets crazy.

  2. Jackie on July 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

    This sounds delish!

  3. Molly Shock on July 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Our go-to Indian dish is a chicken, green apple, and butternut squash curry. Served over quinoa that’s been cooked in coconut milk…delish!!! I also love the simmer sauces for an easy crock pot option. I have the hubs on the Indian train, so I will definitely have to give this one a try!

  4. Jodie on July 30, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Unfortunately I don’t have a slow cooker.

  5. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on July 30, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Ohh yum!! This looks delicious and I love that there’s a veggie option. I’ve been looking for some new slow cooker recipes. Thank you!

  6. John @ GymSanta on July 30, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I’m not really into Indian food, but my mouth actually started to water when I saw the pictures. Hmm, maybe I have to try your recipe?

    When it comes to weekly meal traditions, I only have one (and it’s rather unhealthy); pancakes for lunch on thursdays. Yummy!

  7. Britt@MyOwnBalance on July 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I love Indian food so much! I haven’t had butter chicken in ages! I might have to jump on the Indian Wednesdays too! 🙂

  8. april on July 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    oh this looks delicious! i’ve been craving indian food lately and i love my crockpot, so this recipe is a win-win! i bet chickpeas would also make a great vegan option 🙂

  9. maria on July 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Looks delish! Do you think regular milk would work as well?

  10. Amber Schumann on July 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Ummm…have you been stalking my thoughts???

    I’ve had a fresh supply of green chiles picked from the garden, and a hankering for Indian while my hubby is out of town this week — Spicy food and Indian food are two things he HATES, so I save them for when he is gone. I’ve been trying to drum up ideas on what to make using what I already have on hand (already hit my grocery budget for the week), and this recipe NAILED IT. Thank you!

    Guess what’s for dinner??

  11. Jay on July 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    That looks delicious! I noticed you served yours over sliced cucumbers (?) instead of rice. Great idea!

  12. Sara on July 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Yum!!! I have been thinking about Indian food for a couple of weeks now. I think I will try this out tomorrow night 🙂

  13. Laura @ She Eats Well on July 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I love Indian food! Chicken Tikka Masala is my favorite…Also, I wish gluten free Naan existed but I have yet to discover it. My bf claims he doesn’t want to eat Indian food for fear of it being rich and upsetting his em…stomach…but I plan to make this for him and trick him into loving Indian food. ha!

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      loooove chicken tikka. the papadum is usually gluten free (made with lentil flour). not soft and fluffy like naan, but i still like using it to scoop chicken up like a chip 🙂

  14. Lori on July 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Gina!

    A little off topic but thanks to you 🙂 I am considering trying out a Barre class, however, we don’t have “Pure Barre” close by but there is a studio offereing “Barre” classes. Is there a big difference between the two?

    Thank you, Lori

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      yes! each barre studio will be different and pure barre has a very specific format and formula. i love trying all the variations and studio; id’ definitely check it out

  15. Bonnie on July 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    This recipe sounds yummy! I’d like to try it out. What size slow cooker did you use? (Mine is not especially large – 3.5 quarts, I think – so just want to see if I need to cut back the recipe.) Thank you!

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      mine is a standard slow cooker- i think it’s 6 quarts? it didn’t fill it up all the way. if anything, i’d just use less chicken. let me know how it turns out!

  16. shaina on July 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    YUM! I love channa masala and bainghan bharta (or however you spell it haha). We used to do Indian food Wednesdays and taco tuesdays every week…maybe I need to bring that back.

  17. Whitney on July 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    YUMMO. Give me all the chicken and veggies in that pot.

  18. Kristen @ Vitamin K Girl on July 30, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I FINALLY ate Indian food for the first time while in Palo Alto a few weeks ago, and I am in LOVE!!! I always knew I would like it, there just aren’t many Indian restaurants in St. Louis. Now I’m sad for all the years I’ve wasted without this food in my life. My next goal is to try cooking some myself:)

  19. Jessica on July 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    When I was living in India my Indian friends taught me how to make Butter Panneer Masala. Interestingly, they used a cashew paste, which gave the gravy it’s buttery, creamy look! They said you could also use ground up cucumber seeds (!!!).

    • Fitnessista on July 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      wowwwwwwwww. my mind was just blown! that sounds amazing!

  20. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on July 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Slow cookers are my faaaavorite. can’t wait to try this out!

  21. Cheryl on July 30, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I would like to make this on a weeknight when school starts. I would be making this for my children. Is it spicy? My kids won’t eat it if it is, leaving me to eat it for lunch and dinner the rest of the week!

    • Fitnessista on July 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      it’s spiced but not very spicy. definitely bold flavors though

  22. RachelG on July 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    That looks DELICIOUS (minus the cilantro 😉 ). Congratulations on being so awesome with the full teaching schedule! 🙂

  23. Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out on July 30, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Slow cooker meals are the best, so easy and so flavorful!

  24. Julie on July 31, 2014 at 2:08 am

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! It’s easy and the ingredients are simple!

  25. Style Bits & Bobs of M.E. on July 31, 2014 at 5:42 am

    This looks delicious! Butter chicken is so good!

  26. Jenny on July 31, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    In the crockpot right this minute! Thank you so much–this is perfect timing for our ‘summer polar vortex’ and rain weather!

    • Fitnessista on July 31, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      let me know what you think!

  27. Sam on July 31, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I love Indian food! I love paneer tikka masala, Chana masala, and malai Kafta. Your recipe looks great! I wonder what it would be like with coconut milk instead? I might try it!

  28. Kady on August 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I made this tonight and left out the chiles, tomato pasta, and coriander because I don’t like too much heat (terrible, I know) and didn’t have the other things, but it was fantastic! it’s definitely going on the “make again” list!

  29. Racheal @ Running with Racheal on August 5, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I made this last night and my family loved it. We served it with brown rice and roasted okra.

    It wasn’t spicy at all, which was perfect for my toddler, but my husband and I were happy to add on the spice later.

    Thanks for another great recipe Gina!

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